Man, 73, comes out of retirement to help youngsters into work

By Patrick Graham

A 73-year-old man decided to come out of retirement to help young people have a brighter future.

George Barr a retired ship repairer at Liverpool Docks came out of retirement to help young people from the Liverpool City Region to train as welders in the railway industry.

In 2021 he setup Multi Track Facilities CIC in 2021 with help from Granby Toxteth Development Trust.

The Liverpool 8 Social Enterprise, aims to train young people, 18 years and above, in Liverpool 8 area and wider Liverpool City Region (LCR) as welders with the aim of direct employment in the rail industry.

READ MORE: Dog locked in suitcase and thrown in the Mersey

A CIC (Social Enterprise) is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.

George, the managing director told the ECHO : "Multi Track Facilities CIC is a new community-based organisation dedicated to addressing inequality, diversity and inclusivity in the UK railway industry.

“We are working in conjunction with Chief Angus Chukuemeka at Crawford House (Community Enterprise Centre)”

Crawford House, off Warwick Street Liverpool 8, the former army barracks and now a community hub has been serving a diverse multicultural community for over 25 years.

They have a history providing a variety of services to the local and wider Liverpool area to improve the conditions of life with respect to the advancement of education, offering services provision and facilities for social, welfare, health, recreation, and leisure activities.

George Barr at the back of Crawford House, Liverpool 8 where the welding training yard will be placed (Patrick Graham/Liverpool ECHO)

George said: "Limited job opportunities and economic deprivation remain pervasive in the Black and other minority communities in the LCR.

"Multi Track strives to offer a unique opportunity to train and provide jobs within the rail maintenance sector to individuals in the local region".

George said: "In response to high levels of youth unemployment in the region and welding skills shortages in the rail track maintenance sector, this company looks to reduce the volumes of both locally.

"Given that Black and other minorities are grossly under-represented in the sector, Multi Track Facilities CIC aims to make a positive contribution to increasing diversity in the rail industry".

The LCR Race Equality Hub said last year: "Increasing diversity could be worth £300m to the LCR economy every year."

Fitting what the LCR Race Equality Hub stated, Multi Track Facilities CIC is part of that vision to increase the workforce, address diversity shortfalls and boost the LCR economy.

George discussed shortages in the rail track maintenance sector and said: "In turn, this frequently disrupts rail track maintenance operations and results in rail service delays or cancellations by operators."

Training will consist of a month in the classroom and the six months working with a qualified welder as their assistant and then back to the classroom again for another month.

This will continue alternating for 21 months and they will then become qualified welders.

During training they will receive an allowance and be paid while working as a welders assistant for their apprenticeship as part of a maintenance team.

On top of this they will be given the opportunity to pass their driving licence test.

Alongside their theoretical study they will gain other practical experience while at Crawford House, as a section of the area at the back of the building will be fenced off and a small section of track laid for them to practice with.

Over a three year period they aim to take on at least 20 young people and hope for the training to begin by May/June 2022.

George said: "If successful the model of training up Black and other minority young people can be replicated in other cities and towns, with Liverpool as its headquarters".


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.